This week I received a phone call from a mother of a 5 month old baby. She wants us to teach her baby Chineses twice a week! While this a great honor for us, quite frankly, we have never taught anyone the Chinese language that early.
Many people might believe that this is way too early a stage for a child to learn a second or even third language. However, my own daughter, who is now 16, has learned three languages just by traveling and being exposed to these three languages (English, Chinese and Spanish) since she was a baby. And there are many other examples where children have learned languages from the “get-go”!
Studies have shown that certain phonetic pronunciations are best to learn before the age of three and support a better learning experience at a later stage. Listening to music, even tv shows and learning single words before the age of three will help in learning to speak later.
Being exposed to a second language will certainly not do any harm to a baby, but it will support the learning experience and might give it a head start. Important to understand is, keep your expectations in check. You might not be able to have a conversation in a foreign language quickly, but it will certainly improve the learning ability down the road.
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